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Do the Right Thing (1989)

NOTE: This commentary is only available on the Criterion Collection release of "Do the Right Thing" (both their laserdisc and DVD releases).

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Spike Lee, director of photography Ernest Dickerson, production designer Wynn Thomas, and actor Joie Lee Rating:6.8/10 (12 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by iwantmytvm on March 6th, 2020:Find all reviews by iwantmytvm
This very informative commentary was moderated by Chuck D of Public Enemy, who according to Spike Lee, took two tries to get the version of "Fight the Power" that was used to open the film and became its anthem throughout.

Lee reveals much of what influenced him and points out how this film has often been misinterpreted. He speaks to the inspirations of racial dynamics and conflicts at the time, as well as historic events. He comments on the acknowledgment of hypocrisy in pop culture appreciation and how some important cultural contributions have been undermined by Robert Zemeckis films.

Dickerson points out when Dutch camera angles are used to create tension, mood, and show the hierarchy of relationships. They allowed improvisation in some scenes but the riot in the pizza parlor was carefully choreographed. Dickerson also elaborates on manipulating light and filming around the weather to properly depict the hottest day of the summer, colors and lights to depict certain times of day or night for the action set during a 24 hour period.

Thomas adds many insights about creating the set design, most notably the pizzeria, which had working ovens and how the actors collaborated on creating the wall of fame. They considered the sets as extensions of characters, they were all built on location, on the block in Brooklyn.

Joie Lee talks about her experiences on this film and in acting, she offers some background on her family. Spike made films from an early age. As an adult, he is a hands-off director and allowed actors to formulate their own character history for their roles.